Making a House a Home: Flower garden

One of the things I wanted to accomplish after purchasing my first home with my husband last fall was renovating the flower beds. We have a long flower bed that goes down the side of the house, but it was looking fairly shabby. It had some fern-type bushes, which weren’t bad, but they were suffocating in about a foot of mulch. If you look in the first photo, you can see the mulch line on the foundation. It was like the previous owners just kept piling on mulch instead of doing actual work to the bed. This spring, I changed that.
Over several weekends thanks to weather and busy schedules, my husband dug out all of the mulch, taking the bed down to the dirt. Then, even though the bed had a liner down, we had to weed the whole thing and pick out plants.
I’ll be honest, I broke the bank on the plants. Using my trust Lowes’ card (5 percent off is 5 percent off) I spent probably a little over $100 picking out plants for both the flower bed/garden and some pots I’ll post about later. In the flower bed, I decided to keep the bushes and a gorgeous Crepe Myrtle at the end, which my mom trimmed, and added two types of perennials that should bush out fairly well over the new few years. Eventually, they should form an almost meadow-like feel. However, because they haven’t bushed out yet, I added a simple annual in the very front.
It all came together very well and everything seems to be growing nicely. Plus, the butterflies seem to really love it. I can’t wait to see what it looks like next spring. We just re-weeded everything and added additional mulch so it should be ready for fall.

Making a House a Home: Buying your first home


The back of one home we looked at. It had an unfinished basement, which Ron liked. However, in the end it lacked the character we were looking for.

In August, I was promoted at my job which required a relocation. Ron and I had been looking to purchase our first home anyway, having rented for almost four years, so this sped up the process. And while buying your first home is an exciting endeavor, it also sucks–like really sucks.


Although it did have a great view and was fairly secluded, even though it was technically in a neighborhood.

There’s a mountain-load of paperwork, negotiations, home inspections and then more paperwork, and that’s all before the home is bought. Let’s not forget about the fact that due to some less than honest companies and that whole mortgage fraud debacle, the rules now for obtaining a mortgage basically require a kidney and your firstborn child. You have to fill out numerous papers, provide a ridiculous amount of bank statements, have your accounts pretty much frozen for a good 45 days and then answer crazy questions that make zero sense. No, my husband doesn’t own his sibling’s land. No, he’s not paid on commission. No, that birthday check from grandma is just a gift and she isn’t secretly paying for our home because we are only pretending to be able to afford it.


When I saw this upstairs in one house we looked at, I was out of there. I’m all for “needs some TLC,” but not cracking plaster around the chimney.

It’s pretty crazy, but absolutely worth it. My advice is this: get a great realtor, find a wonderful mortgage guy who will work round the clock for you when the underwriters decide to lose their minds and use a home inspector that suffers from slight OCD. Trust me, he won’t miss a thing.


Trying to stay calm during the home buying process. Selfie anyone?

Also, when it doesn’t work out or something crazy happens, just breath. Hang in there. It’ll get better. We walked away from our first home after having our offer accepted because we realized through the home inspection that it was basically a massive fire starter. The homeowners had Edison knob and tube wiring (yep, like that Edison) that was missing part of its insulation coating and had paper backed insulation sitting on it. Somehow, the owners didn’t think that was an issue they needed to fix, so we pulled the plug. In the end it worked out and I think we ended up exactly where we should be, but it wasn’t without seeing some other options first.

And, not everyone saw our vision for our house. That’s okay. While the house has been taken down to the studs and redone with new wiring, plumbing, HVAC, roofing, etc., it’s still a 115-year-old home and that isn’t for everyone. We could see the potential, and yes, the work, but I think that’s the fun of owning your first home. We continuously have some project in the works, ranging from small to large, but it’s fun and we’re constantly making it our home. And that’s what’s important, right?